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April 5, 20240

House Oversight Committee Will Question FDA Commissioner

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Jim McDonald

The powerful U.S. House Oversight and Accountability Committee has announced a hearing that will examine the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), with committee members questioning FDA Commissioner Robert Califf. Califf will face scrutiny on a wide variety of topics, including the agency’s tobacco and nicotine product regulation. 

According to a press release, the hearing “will examine the Oversight Committee’s ongoing investigations into the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) response to several issues, including the infant formula crisis and food safety, drug shortages, facility inspections, hemp regulation, regulation of tobacco and nicotine products, and over-the-counter decongestants.” 

The hearing is scheduled for April 11 at 1:00 p.m. EDT, and will be streamed live on the committee website and YouTube.  

 The committee announced last year it was investigating the FDA Center for Tobacco Products (CTP)—the agency’s tobacco regulatory office. In a March 2023 letter to FDA Commissioner Robert Califf, Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY) cited numerous problems at CTP—including improper political influence—most of which were highlighted in the 2022 Reagan-Udall Foundation (RUF) evaluation of FDA tobacco regulatory practices

 “We have deep concerns,” wrote Comer in his letter to Califf, “that CTP’s decisions have been influenced by political concerns rather than scientific evidence. Comments from FDA staff to RUF…reflect such concerns.” 

 Other members of Congress have also questioned the agency’s commitment to fair vaping regulation. In December 2023, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators asked Califf to explain the FDA’s premarket tobacco application (PMTA) process, which has resulted in just seven authorized vaping devices, despite millions of PMTAs submitted. 

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Jim McDonald

Vaping since: 12 years

Favorite products:

Favorite flavors: RY4-style tobaccos, fruits

Expertise in: Political and legal challenges, tobacco control haters, moral panics

Jim McDonald

Smokers created vaping without help from the tobacco industry or anti-smoking crusaders, and I believe vapers have the right to continue innovating to help themselves. My goal is to provide clear, honest information about the challenges vaping faces from lawmakers, regulators, and brokers of disinformation. I’m a member of the CASAA board, but my opinions aren’t necessarily CASAA’s, and vice versa. You can find me on Twitter @whycherrywhy

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